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CU's FIRST CLASS celebrates the end of the academic year

FIRST CLASS is designed to enhance students' academic, social and spiritual integration into the Campbellsville University community

By Drew Tucker, communications assistant

Campbellsville, KY -- "My hope is that God has taught you a lot of what it means to be a Christian servant leader," said Tina Propes, part-time coordinator of First Year Experience, at Campbellsville University's last chapel of the semester for FIRST CLASS inside Ransdell Chapel recently.

She said she was very excited for the students to go out into the community to serve others, and read from Philippians 2:3-11.

"'Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

"And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.'"

Propes spoke about the projects the students had worked on over the school year, included collecting clothing, traveling around the world on mission trips, visiting people at nursing homes and visiting and loving on children at children's homes.

Amber Susaitia of Whitley City, Ky. said she worked with students at Taylor County Elementary who are less fortunate and need more attention than others due to their home life. "Everyone always needs a little encouragement. Don't give up," she said.

Beckie Decker of Leitchfield, Ky. said she was involved with a program that helps high school girls with their body image. "Something I learned about leadership and working with the girls was that sometimes you don't have to do something to give somebody something. If you can give them as something as simple as a smile or a pat on the back, that can mean a lot to people," she said.

Chelsea Duplantis of Elkhorn, Ky. and Hanna Stratton of Parksville, Ky. said they worked on a project called Precious Pillowcases, where they wrote encouraging messages on pillowcases, stuffed them with toiletries and stuffed animals and took them to children's homes.

"Being a servant leader means putting others before yourself and helping them as best you can. In order to lead you have to serve," Stratton said.

"I was able to give kids hope and the love and the support they need. Even just a smile makes them happy," Duplantis said.

Brooke Pedigo of Glasgow, Ky. and James Kuhn of Liberty, Ky. said they went to a nursing home for disabled adults and children to help them with their daily needs, even if that included playing a simple game of Bingo, doing a cake walk or holding babies who were abandoned.

"Seeing their excitement and smiles really lit up my day," Kuhn said. "I learned you should look for those times to get involved and take advantage of those opportunities so serve others.

"We complain over the smallest things that aren't necessary. Seeing where they lived was hard for us, but they had a smile on their faces the entire time."

Evan Magruder of Bardstown, Ky. and Madison Daulton of Somerset, Ky. worked at Bluegrass Way Assisted Living, taking care packages with them to distribute and speak with them, if only for five minutes.

"I learned there's always somebody who is in a less fortunate position than you and just doing the smallest thing for someone can do wonders for them," Magruder said.

"One of the best things was when we had finished, I had played piano for them for about 45 minutes and I was one of the last kids to leave because they kept wanting me to keep playing," said Daulton.

Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, said there were three types of people: those who take, those who give with the expectation of getting something in return and those who give and expect nothing in return.

"Where would our world be if we all had genuine hearts with nothing in return that we expected but we all went all out in helping, assisting, encouraging, providing, allowing and forgiving others?" he said.

He said about 115 years ago there were people around Campbellsville who had prayer that there would be a school to teach others to care about other people and to connect to the outside world and really give from an informed point of view.

"That was the dream," he said. "Those were the prayers the founders of Russell Creek Academy had, and that dream still holds true today with FIRST CLASS."

"How will you proceed when you finally get beyond Campbellsville University?" he said. "Will you be a taker, a pseudo-giver or genuinely a giver?"

At the end of the service, Propes announced that the Lamp of Learning Award was being renamed the Dr. Franklin D Cheatham Lamp of Learning Award in honor of Cheatham's 43 years of service at Campbellsville University. The first recipient of the award was Meika Hamblin of Henderson, Ky. who is on the CU Swim Team, has a 4.0 GPA and is on the President's List.

This story was posted on 2015-06-01 18:49:14
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Meika Hamblin receives Lamp of Learning Award

2015-06-01 - Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Kyle Perkins, CU photo.
Dr. Frank Cheatham, right, presents Meika Hamblin of Henderson, Ky. the first Dr. Franklin D Cheatham Lamp of Learning Award.

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First Class Students

2015-06-01 - Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Kyle Perkins. Tina Propes, right, part-time coordinator of First Year experience, interviews FIRST CLASS students James Kuhn, left, of Liberty, Ky., and Brooke Pedigo of Glascow, Ky., about their time serving in a nursing home.
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Dr. Carter addresses FIRST CLASS students

2015-06-01 - Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Kyle Perkins, CU photo. Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, spoke to the students of FIRST CLASS about the different types of people in the world.
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